THE Gunnedah Basin will be the battleground of the mining and coal seam gas debate in NSW, with protest activity by farmers and environmentalist groups expected to intensify.
Lock The Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton, who is in the region this week, describes the battle to protect farming and conservation land and aquifers from coal mining and coal seam gas production as the biggest environmental issue Australia has seen in 100 years.
“We’re looking at heating up our activity in this part of the world, ramping up our activity, because we see the North West very much as the epicentre of the resources boom in NSW and the area likely to (suffer) most of the damage as a result of that,” Mr Hutton said yesterday.
“(The damage will be) not just to some of the best agricultural land in the country, but also some land identified as important for biodiversity.”
The agricultural land Mr Hutton referred to was the stretch between Bellata-Gurley and the Liverpool Plains, “none of which should be touched”, he said.
Mr Hutton said the Pilliga would be fragmented by coal seam gas activity and the “mega mine complex” near Boggabri would tear apart Leard State Forest.
While landholders in the area had already “locked their gates” and refused to negotiate access to their land with mining and coal seam gas companies, the groups under the alliance’s umbrella would soon intensify their efforts and stage blockades, he said.
“We’re putting pressure on the NSW government to physically separate coal and coal seam gas mining from good agricultural land and from our high-biodiversity areas,” he said.
“We’re stepping up the pressure
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